Daesh’s new digs: HQ established in luxury mansion seized from Qatari royal family

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SHAFAQNA - Islamic State [Daesh] leaders claim to be living in luxury in a vast mansion seized from a billionaire Arab sheikh.

The terror group’s social media sites posted photographs of the spectacular mansion, under the headline: ‘A castle for the tyrants of Qatar in Palmyra’.

Aerial snapshots show sprawling gardens surrounding the mansion, in the heart of the Syrian desert.

It is claimed that the real owners – the Qatari royal family – abandoned the villa when Isis closed in.

The leaders of the regime, which took over nearby Palmyra in May, are now said to have set up headquarters in the luxury villa, amid gold-leaf columns and plush furnishings.

One Syrian Twitter user – who claimed to have previously worked inside the palace – posted satellite imagery of the property last December.

He claimed that construction, which began in 2009, ground to a halt due to the Syrian civil war.

He added in a comment that the marble floors inside the villa are the same as those at the holy mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Social media users refer to the villa as Mozeh Palace claiming it was built for Emira Mozeh, the mother of the current Emir of Qatar, the British-educated Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

But no reports have yet been received from the mansion.

The photographs – released by the group’s Homs Province media network – show sprawling, manicured lawns, marble halls, grand bedrooms and an indoor swimming pool.

The sprawling hilltop mansion is similar in style to the soon-to-be London home of the current emir, who was educated at Harrow and Sandhurst.

Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, 55, one of the three wives of Qatar’s former emir Sheikh Haman bin Khalifa Al Thani, bought three prime properties in London’s Regent’s Park for an estimated £120million in 2013.

Once completed, the 13-bedroom palace will be the London home of Sheikh Hamad’s son, the 35-year-old Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad.

It is expected to be the most valuable residential property in London in private hands, with estimates claiming it will be worth about £280million.

It will also be the first residential property in the UK to break the £200 million ($311 million) mark.

The family also own the Shard – the tallest skyscraper in Europe, Harrods and the Olympic Village.

In recent years, Qataris are thought to have bought almost one in 30 homes in London worth more than £2million.

After Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund bought Harrods for £1.5billion in 2010, Sheikh Hamad said: ‘We are investing everywhere. Even your Harrods – we took it.

For almost 150 years, Qatar has been ruled by the Al Thani family.

Sheikh Hamad was the ruling Emir of Qatar from 1995, when he seized power from his father Sheikh Khalifa in a bloodless palace coup d’état supported by the armed forces, cabinet and neighbouring states.

His son Tamim took over in June 2013 after being educated in the UK at Sherborne School, Harrow and Sandhurst Military Academy.

While not always in line for the title, the boy replaced his own brother as crown prince in 2003.

The Government of Qatar is ambiguous when it comes to Isis support.

According to the country’s official line, Qatar supports the moderate (Sunni) Islamist opposition and has joined the US-led coalition against the terror group.

But there are concerns that funding from ‘private donors’ from Qatar – as well as UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia – has contributed to the spread of Isis.

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